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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: EID, Vol. 16, No. 9 (September 2010)


These articles of interest will appear in the September 2010 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC's monthly peer-reviewed public health journal. This issue will feature emerging viral infections. The articles are embargoed until August 11, 2010, at 12:00pm EDT.

1. Trends in Hospitalizations for Peptic Ulcer Disease, United States, 1998–2005

Lydia B. Feinstein, et al.

Each year in the United States, more than 6 million people have peptic ulcer disease (stomach ulcers). Fortunately, in the early 1980s we learned that stomach ulcers are linked to infection with a germ that can be treated with antibiotics. Thus, after almost 2 decades, the number of people with ulcers that require hospitalization should have declined because of better treatments. In fact, one of the Department of Health and Human Services' objectives in its Healthy People 2010 plan was to reduce the number of people hospitalized for stomach ulcers by 35 percent from 1998 to 2010. Hospital records show that in just over half that time (during the 1998 to 2005 study period), the number of ulcer hospitalizations already decreased by 21 percent. These results indicate that people with ulcers are getting better treatment and fewer complications.

Contact Dr. Thomas L. Gift via:
CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

Or contact:
Ms. Lydia B. Feinstein
PhD student, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

2. Illicit Drug Use and Risk for USA300 Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections with Bacteremia

Kristen M. Kreisel, et al.

A strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, called USA300, first emerged as the bacteria causing skin infections in the drug-using population, and was potentially being spread by repeated injection or inhalation of illicit drugs. This strain can enter the bloodstream and cause life-threatening bloodstream infections. This study shows that these bloodstream infections are now becoming less common in drug users and relatively more common in other populations.

Kristen Kreisel, PhD
Research Fellow
Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services
(804) 648-4480, ext. 223

3. Mobile Messaging as Surveillance Tool during Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, Mexico

Martin Lajous, et al.

When an outbreak strikes, it's crucial to find out how many people are sick, how many have died, and where they are, as soon as possible. Traditional ways of getting this information (doctor and hospital reports sent to health departments) can be slow, especially when the cause and outcome of the outbreak are still unknown. So during the outbreak of pandemic H1N1 2009 flu in Mexico, researchers tried a new approach: cell phones. On one day only, they sent a text message to almost a million cell phones, asking the recipients to answer a few questions about whether and when they had flu-like symptoms. Although not many (5.8 percent) people answered, those who did, answered quickly: 53 percent did so within three hours and 89 percent within 24 hours. Although this method needs to be improved, it may turn out to be a practical, low-cost, and fast way to get information during an outbreak.

Dr. Martin Lajous
Department of Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health
(617) 432-6921

4. Legionellosis Associated with Asphalt Paving Machine, Spain, 2009

Mireia Coscollá, et al.

Finding the source of a disease outbreak is hard enough, so what happens when the source keeps moving? This is exactly what researchers faced when cases of Legionnaires' disease kept popping up in one city in Spain. A search of the usual suspect places (such as cooling towers, showers, fountains) came up empty. Not until researchers considered a mobile source did they track the outbreaks to a paving machine, which continually moved around the city. They found the germ in the untreated water in the machine's tank and confirmed that it was the same germ that was infecting the people. As soon as the machine was removed from use and disinfected, the infections stopped.

Dr. Mireia Coscollá
Tuberculosis Research Unit
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
Basel, Switzerland

The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.



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